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Why inventories are crucial to successfully renting homes with pets

The rental sector is edging closer to making it easier for tenants to keep pets. When this happens, it will be more important than ever to keep an accurate inventory.

Inventories are a vital defence against any pet-related damages. In this guide we explain what an inventory is, how to create one and why a letting agent can help.

Related: What landlords need to know about the Renters (Reform) Bill

What is an inventory?

An inventory is a document that details the exact condition of the property before a new tenant moves in. The document can either be paper-based or produced digitally, and it will contain written descriptions, photographs, and even video footage in some cases.

The person conducting the inventory will need to investigate the property room-by-room, including any hallways, garden areas and outbuildings too. The condition of the home’s walls, carpets and ceilings will be checked and documented, as well as any fixtures, fittings and furniture.

The idea is to record any evidence of damage so that the landlord can back up claims with photographic and descriptive evidence.

Related: What is fair wear and tear?

Who carries out an inventory?

It is the landlord’s or letting agent’s responsibility to carry out inventories between tenancies. When letting via an agent, they can carry out a professional inventory for you and keep the record safe for referral as needed.

Potential pet damages

While responsible pet owners are a great demographic to market to, there is the inherent concern of pet damage to your property. No matter how well trained and cared for an animal is, there is always a risk to the overall condition of the property while a pet is inhabiting it.

Potential pet damages include:

  • Chewing of skirting boards

  • Scratching doors and furniture

  • Stained carpets

  • Chewed electrical cables

  • Damage to lawn and garden

  • Odours

  • Pet hair on furniture and carpets

  • Fleas.

How thorough inventories can help protect your property from pets

Thorough inventories can provide a safety net for UK landlords when letting to pet owners.

Renting to pet owners can be a bit more complex due to potential damages and additional cleaning required, but with an inventory, landlords can make an informed judgment about the condition of their property, and whether to make an insurance claim for the damage.

What other safeguards can a letting agent offer to landlords?

When you use a letting agent to manage your property, they should provide extra safety provisions if your tenants wish to bring pets. These include: .:

Detailed condition reports - When a pet-owning tenant moves in, a comprehensive inventory and condition report should be created. This report should include detailed descriptions of the property's condition, noting any existing damages, wear and tear, and cleanliness.

Pet-specific clauses - These clauses that specifically address pets can outline expectations for pet-related responsibilities such as cleaning, repairs, and any necessary pest control due to pets.

Deposit protection - The tenant's security deposit can be used to cover damages caused by pets, just like any other damages. It should be clearly communicated to the tenant that pet-related damages are not exempt from deduction and provide specific examples of what these damages might entail.

Pet references - Requesting references for the pet from the previous landlord, if applicable. This can provide insight into the pet's behaviour and whether it caused any problems in previous rental properties.

Regular inspections - Scheduling regular property inspections to monitor the condition of the rental unit. During these inspections, letting agents can check for any pet-related damages that might not have been reported by the tenant. It also provides an opportunity to discuss any concerns and remind tenants of their responsibilities.

Pet deposits or fees - Some landlords opt to charge an additional pet deposit or fee to cover potential damages. This is usually a one-time payment that's refundable if there are no significant damages caused by the pet during the tenancy.

Your agent can check local laws and regulations to ensure compliance with any limitations on the amount that can be charged.

Pet policies and rules - Developing clear and reasonable pet policies that cover matters such as waste disposal, noise control, and any communal area usage. Ensuring these policies are communicated effectively to the tenant and are included as an attachment to the tenancy agreement.

Tenant liability insurance - Encouraging tenants to have liability insurance that covers any damages their pets might cause to the property. This provides an additional layer of protection for the landlord and can help cover repair costs.

Communication - Maintaining open communication with the tenant. Address any concerns promptly and encourage the tenant to report damages or issues caused by their pet as soon as they arise.

By implementing these measures and maintaining thorough inventories, landlords can minimise potential risks associated with renting to pet owners and foster a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

For more advice, contact your local Whitegates branch

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